Tag Archives: Yemen

US-backed war on Yemen leaves 20 million without food, water, medical care

By Bill Van Auken
June 7, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

The US-backed war against Yemen has left some 20 million people—nearly 80 percent of the country’s population—facing a humanitarian disaster, without access to adequate food, water and medical care, the United Nations top aid official informed member nations of the UN Security Council this week.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien described the situation confronting the population of the Arab world’s poorest country as “catastrophic,” placing much of the blame on the Saudi-led air strikes that have devastated Yemeni cities, and Saudi Arabia’s blockade of Yemen’s ports, which have prevented not only the arrival of emergency relief supplies but also the basic flow of goods that existed before the war.

“The blockade means it’s impossible to bring anything into the country,” Nuha Abdul Jaber, Oxfam’s humanitarian program director in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa told the Guardian newspaper. “There are lots of ships, with basic things like flour, that are not allowed to approach. The situation is deteriorating, hospitals are now shutting down, without diesel. People are dying of simple diseases. It is becoming almost impossible to survive.”

The Guardian , citing a report by the aid group Save the Children, reported that hospitals have closed down in at least 18 of the country’s 22 governates, along with 153 health centers that provided nutrition to at-risk children and 158 outpatient clinics that treated children under five. “At the same time, due to lack of clean water and sanitation, cholera and other diseases are on the rise,” the paper reported. “A dengue fever outbreak has been reported in Aden.”

The Saudi monarchy, meanwhile, has provided none of the $274 million for an emergency humanitarian fund that it promised to create when, in late April, it announced an end to what it had dubbed “Operation Decisive Storm” and declared that it would shift from military operations to “the political process.”

Since then, along with the blockade, the air war against Yemen’s impoverished population, now in its third month, has continued unabated. On Wednesday and Thursday alone, at least 58 civilians were reported killed, as bombs struck a number of areas including in the north near the Saudi Arabian border, where 48 people, mostly women and children, were reported killed in a single village. According to the UN’s estimate, at least 2,000 civilians have lost their lives since the onset of the war.

The Obama administration has provided the Saudis with logistical and intelligence support, helping to select targets for bombardment, sending refueling planes to keep the bombers of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf monarchy allies in the air and rushing bombs and missiles to replace those dropped on Yemen.

It was reported Thursday that the leadership of the Houthi rebels have agreed to attend UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva on June 14. Agence France Presse quoted Daifallah al-Shami, a politburo member of the Houthi militia’s political wing as saying, “We accepted the invitation of the United Nations to go to the negotiating table in Geneva without preconditions.”

The rebels have refused to submit to a one-sided resolution pushed through the United Nations Security Council in April by the US and its allies (with Russia abstaining), imposing an arms embargo directed solely against the Houthi rebels, while demanding that they disarm, cede territory under their control and recognize the government of President Abd Rabbuh Monsour Hadi, a puppet of Washington and Saudi Arabia, who fled the country in March. The Security Council resolution made no criticism whatsoever of the Saudi air strikes, launched against a civilian population in violation of international laws against aggressive war.

Representatives of Hadi, who is holed up in Riyadh, are also reported to have agreed to attend the Geneva talks. Previously, Hadi had demanded that the Houthis bow to the UN Security Council resolution before any peace talks.

Also expected to join the talks are representatives of former president and longtime strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose loyalists allied themselves with the Houthis.

Not expected to participate are rebel factions in the south of Yemen who have resisted the Houthis but have no interest in restoring Hadi to power, fighting instead for the independence of South Yemen, a former British colony which existed as an independent state aligned with the former Soviet Union before its unification with the north in 1990. That unity broke down in 1994, resulting in a civil war that ended with the secessionist south defeated and forced back into unification.

The war in Yemen has led to a ratcheting up of tensions throughout the region, with the Saudi monarchy and Washington both charging Iran with supporting the Houthis, who are based among the Zaidi Shiites, and who make up approximately one third of Yemen’s population, dominating the north of the country.

Washington has repeatedly charged Tehran with supplying arms to the Houthis, while presenting no evidence. Iran has denied the charges.

War, Imperialism and the People’s Struggle in the Middle East

United States continues its occupation of the region

By Abayomi Azikiwe
June 4, 2015
Global Research

 

War-USA-400x293Since March 26 the Saudi Arabian monarchy along with its neighbors in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has been waging war on the nation of Yemen. Daily bombing raids against residential areas and infrastructure are ostensibly designed to push back the Ansurallah (Houthis) movement which has taken over large sections of the country, one of the most underdeveloped in the region.

This war has been largely hidden from the view of people inside the United States. Nonetheless, this is a U.S. war aimed at maintaining Washington’s dominant position within the Arabian Peninsula extending to the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden.

Prior to the beginning of the airstrikes by the Saudi-GCC Coalition, the administration of President Barack Obama withdrew its diplomatic personnel along with Special Forces operating inside the country. For many years the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has viewed Yemen as a key area for its so-called “war on terrorism.”

Regular drone strikes have killed many Yemenis along with at least three of whom were U.S. citizens. Washington has said that the Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is major threat to American interests in an attempt to justify the drone attacks which have killed more civilians than supposed “armed combatants.”

However, in recent months the Islamic Republic of Iran has been designated by Washington and its allies as the principal threat in Yemen. The Ansurallah, which is a Shiite branch of Islam, is supported politically by Tehran. The Saudi monarchy views Iran as its major impediment in controlling the region on behalf of U.S. oil and financial interests.

The current hostilities in Yemen have been described as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and the GCC on one side and Iran and its allies on the other. The total war strategy against Yemen consists of the banning of humanitarian assistance from Iran and others who oppose the bombing and ground offensive by militias which are financed by Riyadh.

According to an article published by the Telegraph in Britain, it says that “As Saudi Arabia has maintained an air and naval blockade on Yemeni territory, gas supplies have run perilously low. Even a five day humanitarian pause was not enough to bring in the necessary aid. Fuel prices have spiked as the casualty count mounts, and some hospitals have been forced to close altogether because they are unable to keep medical supplies refrigerated or perform operations since they can’t run backup generators.”

Reports of the number of Yemenis killed in the fighting range from 2,000-4,000 with many more injured and displaced. Yemeni-Americans who have been attempting to leave the country since late March have been abandoned by Washington.

Many Yeminis have taken refuge across the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden into Djibouti where the U.S. has its largest military base in Africa. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is expanding its operations at Camp Lemonnier which is utilized as a staging ground for military strikes inside Somalia and other countries on the continent.

This same above-mentioned Telegraph article also notes that

“The UNHCR says a total of 5,000 Yemeni refugees have made it to Djibouti, including 3,000 in the capital, Djibouti city, and 1,000 in Obock, 300 kilometers (187 miles) to the north — making it currently the biggest Yemeni refugee population. The influx has hiked up local prices, with markets, hotels, and drivers trying to make the most of the situation in an already struggling economy.”

Yemen and the Imperialist Regional War

The war in Yemen is part and parcel of a broader regional war that encompasses Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, occupied Palestine and Iran. In Iraq where the U.S. occupied the country for over eight years, the Pentagon has redeployed 3,100 troops to the area. These troops are purportedly training Iraqi military forces although the Defense Department cannot claim any real successes.

When Islamic State fighters confronted Iraqi units in Mosul and other cities they fled. A similar situation was reported in Ramadi in Anbar Province. The Obama administration played down these events in order to deflect the attention of the U.S. public away from its failures in Iraq.

The Kurdish fighters seem to have fought with far greater commitment and vigor yet they are not privy to the military assistance in their struggle against IS. Fierce battles in Kobane on the border with Turkey revealed that the Kurds were a force to be reckoned with in the regional war against IS.

In neighboring Syria, the U.S. is behind efforts to destabilize and overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Since 2011, an estimated 200,000 people have died and several million dislocated both inside and outside of Syria.

The U.S. is bombing both Iraq and Syria under the guise of degrading and destroying IS bases. However, the impact of this aerial war is to create broader avenues of operation for the IS forces which were built up during the initial years of the destabilization campaign against Syria. At present IS military units have seized large areas of territory within Syria and Iraq, while the strategy of the White House is to continue the bombing targeting Daesh but at the same time opposing the continued existence of the Assad government in Damascus.

A massive air assault on Syria was planned for August-September 2013. However, public outrage in Britain and the U.S. stopped the president in his tracks. The effect of recent wars waged by Washington through successive administrations has resulted in greater instability and dislocation.

In Lebanon Hezbollah has maintained its strength against the Zionist regime occupying Palestine. The party and mass movement have also intervened in solidarity with the people of Syria and may escalate its involvement based upon developments taking place inside the country.

The plight of Palestinians has been negatively impacted by the wars in Syria and Iraq. In Syria, many Palestinian refugees were divided over support for the Assad government. A major camp housing Palestinians has been the focal point of IS attacks seeking to gain control of the area.

Israel is supported to the tune of billions every year from the tax dollars of the American people. U.S. warplanes and other defense technology are given to Tel Aviv where it is tested against the people of Gaza and other occupied territories.

Although the U.S. administration has signed an agreement on Iran nuclear energy program, the Obama White House is continuing the 36 years of hostility towards Tehran since the popular revolution of 1979. Washington’s coordination of the Saudi-GCC war in Yemen is a clear testament to the ongoing war against Iran.

Africa and the Middle East 

As we mentioned earlier, Djibouti, the pivotal staging ground for AFRICOM on the continent is located right across from Yemen. Somalia, Ethiopia, Egypt and Kenya are in close proximity. The artificial divisions between Africa and the so-called Middle East are merely constructs of colonialism and imperialism for the purpose dividing the regions in regard to spheres of influence for western powers.

Peoples who reside on either side of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden fundamentally want the U.S. out of their countries. They desire to live in peace and to determine their own destiny in the quest for development and unity. Washington and Wall Street dominate through their military prowess and economic machinations that bribe leaders making them dependent upon U.S. and European patronage and privilege.

The fueled hostility between various branches of Islam is indispensable in the imperialist strategy for the Middle East and Africa. Only when the peoples of Africa and the Middle East unite on an anti-imperialist basis will there be a genuine atmosphere of lasting peace and social stability.

Note: This paper was presented at the Left Forum held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York (CUNY) during May 29-31, 2015. The panel was chaired by Bill Dores of the International Action Center. Kazem Azin of Solidarity Iran was also a participant.

US-Saudi- Israeli “Axis of Evil” Against Yemen, Carefully Planned Military Undertaking

By Stephen Lendman
June 1, 2015
Global Research

 

Saudi-Arabia-bombing-YemenYemen is Obama’s war – planned months before Saudi-led proxies launched naked aggression.

It’s been raging since March 26 with no end in sight. At stake is Yemeni sovereignty and the fate of its 24 million people suffering horrifically from relentless Saudi terror-bombing and shelling.

Israel is very much involved. In late April, Fars News reported its submarines and warplanes “readily observed” near Saudi Arabia’s coastline since conflict began – according to unnamed foreign diplomats.

They said Riyadh secretly agreed decades ago to give Israeli submarines and warplanes access to Saudi waters.

They’ve been patrolling them since the start of conflict. According to Fars News, “(m)any regional officials…earlier revealed collaboration among the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia in the aggression against Yemen.”

Weeks earlier, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan said Washington and Israel are the main sponsors of aggression on Yemen.

Days after Saudi terror-bombing began, Fars News said Israeli warplanes participated in attacking Yemeni targets.

Yemeni Al-Haq political party secretary general Hassan Zayd said “Zionists are conducting a joint operation in coalition with Arabs.”

Everything is orchestrated and coordinated by Washington – including supplying weapons, intelligence and targets to strike.

On May 31, Haaretz headlined “Iranian report: Israeli arms found in Saudi embassy in Yemen,” saying:

Houthi fighters found “a large cache of Israeli-made weapons and ammunition” in Riyadh’s abandoned Sanaa embassy.

Documents were found indicating Washington plans a base on Yemen’s Perim Island island off its southwest coast in the Red Sea near the entrance to the Bab al-Mandreb strait.

Riyadh reportedly asked Israel to supply “state-of-the-art weapons” to wage war on Houthis.

On May 25, Veterans Today reported two Israeli F-16s downed over Yemen.

Saying “Yemeni air defense forces shot down a Saudi marked fighter jet in the northwestern province of Sanaa in Yemen as it was conducting airstrikes.”

“This is the second F-16 shot down this week – clearly the strength of the Yemeni air defences has been grossly underestimated.”

“The Saudi F-16 fighter jet was shot down and subsequently crashed in the Bayt Khayran area of the district of Bani Harith in the northern part of Sanaa.”

Wreckage of both planes “were found to be of types never supplied to an Arab nation, not Saudi Arabia” or others. “The only ‘buyer’ in the region for that type of plane is Israel.”

At the same time, Press TV reported two downed Saudi warplanes in the same areas.

On May 29, Pravda said “Saudis have begun to wipe Yemen off the map…Shocking video reveals proton bombardment from a neutron bomb.”

“Israel is reported to be the one to deploy such (weapons). Any doubts about the nuclear attack on Yemen attributed to Israel, as evidenced in two Israeli F-16s shot down and forensically identified, are now gone.”

“Forbidden strikes have brought about a storm of worldwide protest.”

“Obama has recently promised to provide every assistance including US military force to any ‘external threat’ the rich Arab states of the Gulf may face.”

A previous article said Obama wants Yemen bombed back to the 19th century. US orchestrated aggression is systematically committing mass slaughter and destruction – mostly affecting civilian men, women and children.

Thousands have been murdered in cold blood, many more injured and around a million displaced.

It gets worse. Fars News cited Djibouti sources saying “out of every 100 ships of humanitarian aids sent for the Yemeni people, the cargoes of only 10 ships are delivered to the poor Arab nation and the rest is sold to African and Arab traders.”

“These officials also forge documents and claim that the aid ships are on their way to Yemen and will unload their cargoes in Aden and al-Hudayda ports while aids are carried to the African and Arab ports.”

According to Fars News, “aid committees” said 173 ships with humanitarian aid reached Yemeni ports. Aden sources indicated only four vessels reached its port, three carrying food.

If the report is accurate, most desperately needed aid isn’t arriving. Profiteers are stealing it – perhaps as part of Obama’s plan to cause maximum pain and suffering to force Houthis to surrender.

A previous article discussed Riyadh using US-supplied banned cluster bombs. In early May, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported their use – citing credible evidence.

On May 31, HRW again reported on cluster munitions harming civilians in northern Yemen’s Saada governorate. Its senior emergencies researcher Ole Solvang said the following:

“These weapons can’t distinguish military targets from civilians, and their unexploded submunitions threaten civilians, especially children, even long after the fighting.”

HRW documented US-supplied Saudi use of cluster bombs in 2009. They can be fired by rockets, mortars, artillery or dropped from aircraft.

Cluster munitions are banned for good reason. They’re terror weapons. They harm civilians. Unexploded ones look like toys. Children picking them up are killed or have limbs blown off.

Perhaps an entire generation of Yemeni children will be killed or maimed before conflict ends.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Saudi-led coalition resume air strikes in Yemen

By Niles Williamson
May 19, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Saudi air strike

Image from: hangthebankers.com

The coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States resumed its brutal assault against Houthi militia targets throughout Yemen Sunday, following the expiration of a five-day cease-fire that began last week.

The stated goals of the Saudi-led air war is to reinstate President Abd Rabbuh Monsour Hadi, who fled the country for Riyadh in March, and push back the Houthi militia that, with the support of military forces loyal to former long-time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, has taken control of most of Yemen’s western provinces.

A plea by a UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, that the five-day “humanitarian truce” should turn into a permanent cease-fire fell on deaf ears. The Saudi-led coalition rejected outright any extension of the truce to allow for the shipment and disbursement of further aid.

There were at least three air strikes reported Monday in the northern province of Saada, the stronghold of the Houthi rebels. Bombs were also dropped on the southern port city of Aden, where the Houthis and allied forces control the presidential palace and have been fighting for control of the airport and other key portions of the city.

Aden’s health chief Al Khader Laswar reported Sunday that four people had been killed and 39 others had been wounded in fighting, including four women and two children. According to Laswar, 517 civilians and pro-Hadi fighters have been killed in the city since fighting began in March.

Saudi Arabia also resumed firing artillery shells and rockets across its southern border against Houthi outposts in northern Yemen. The Saudi military reported Monday that their forces had responded to mortars fired from Yemen at a military garrison in its southern Najran province.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who praised the bloody war in Yemen earlier this month when he met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, blamed the Houthis for the resumption of air strikes. “We know that the Houthis were engaged in moving some missile-launching capacity to the border and, under the rules of engagement, it was always understood that if there were proactive moves by one side or another, then that would be in violation of the ceasefire arrangement,” he told reporters on Monday.

From the beginning, the Obama administration has backed the assault on Yemen as part of its efforts to maintain control of the country, which occupies a key geostrategic position along critical oil transport lanes. Yemen has also functioned as a base for US drones in the region.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir released a statement in which he expressed “regret that the truce did not achieve its humanitarian goals,” and echoed Kerry’s statement that the Houthis were at fault for continuing violence. Yemeni Foreign Minister Reyad Yassin Abdulla also placed blame on the Houthis for the failure to extend the halt in air strikes. “That’s what we said before—that if they start again, we will start again,” he told Reuters.

Adbulla told reporters that the resumed air campaign would avoid facilities necessary to the receipt humanitarian aid. “They will keep places for aid to come. They will keep places safe like Sanaa airport, Hodeida seaport, Aden seaport. We will encourage and support any humanitarian aid to come in,” he said.

In fact, the Saudi coalition has repeatedly carried out air strikes on the civilian air strips in Sanaa and Hodeida as part of its efforts to enforce a no-fly zone since it began military operations in March. It has also enforced a punishing blockade of the country’s ports, which, taken together with the no-fly zone, has cut off Yemen’s normal supply of food, fuel and medical supplies. As a result, as many as 20 million people, approximately 80 percent of the population, are going hungry.

Coalition bombs have been dropped on residential neighborhoods, a dairy factory in Hodeida, a refugee camp in northern Yemen and a warehouse containing materials for distributing clean water. The Saudi regime has admitted to targeting hospitals and schools, in violation of international law, because they claim they are being used by the Houthis to store weapons and stage attacks. More than 30 schools have been wrecked by air strikes, while the fighting has kept more than 2 million children from attending class.

The brief cease-fire has done little to ease the increasingly desperate conditions confronting millions of civilians in what was already one of the poorest countries in the Arab world. Residents of Saada and Aden reported that, in spite of the delivery of new aid into the country, the much-needed food and medical supplies had not been adequately distributed.

“There is still no fuel available and an extreme shortage of food,” Ghassan Salah, a resident of Aden told the Wall Street Journal. “Some families have received [aid], some haven’t. Government officials who are supposed to distribute it free sometimes sell it. Nothing has improved.”

Civilians have borne the brunt of the assault, accounting for more than half of those killed and wounded. The UN estimates that in less than two months at least 1,820 people have been killed and 7,330 wounded in air strikes and fighting on the ground. Additionally, the US-backed, Saudi-led war has already displaced more than half a million people.

US Strategy: Bombing Yemen Back to the 19th Century

By Stephen Lendman
May 16, 2015
Global Research

 

Saudi-Arabia-bombing-YemenOn March 26, US-orchestrated/Saudi-led terror-bombing began – supplemented by imported takfiri death squad attacks.

Civilians are prime targets. Obama is systematically destroying Yemen – the way Washington ravaged Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Deliberately targeted were civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, power facilities, refugee camps, food depositories, vital infrastructure and other nonmilitary targets.

Riyadh’s so-called 5-day ceasefire (beginning Tuesday) continues being punctuated by terror-bombings and ground attacks.

According to Shiite News, Houthi Ansarullah Brig. General Sharaf Luqman warned against further violations. Saying they’ll be met with strong “determination.”

“We the armed forces, and the popular committees, and Ansarullah, announce our commitment to this ceasefire,” Luqman stressed.

Minutes after it began, “acts of aggression after aggression” followed.

“Right now you (can hear) the anti-aircraft firing and the Saudi firing in the sky over the capital (Sanaa) and in all of the provinces,” Luqman explained.

On Thursday, a Saudi helicopter gunship struck a truck in northern Yemen, killing nine people.

Riyadh, complicit with Washington, willfully breached ceasefire terms. Ansarullah fighters are blamed for their crimes.

In normal times, Yemenis endure enormous hardships. Now they’re catastrophic.

On orders from Washington, Yemen is being terror-bombed to rubble. It’s economy is being systematically destroyed.

The Middle East Eye (MEE) is a UK-based independent online news service. It calls its agenda “led by events, not political leanings.”

It published a new report on Yemeni crisis conditions titled “Paint thinner and donkey carts: Resource scarcity in war-torn Yemen.”

Saying Yemenis seek alternative ways to survive. They’re “(u)sing phone lines to power lamps, paint-thinner to run motorbikes, and donkey carts” for transportation.

Power cuts, food and water shortages, as well as lack of fuel and medical supplies create horrific conditions.

Survival depends on improvising any way possible. “Majed al-Sharjabi, a 42-year-old doctor, had been using petrol to run a generator in his home until the coalition’s naval blockade, which prevents fuel ships from docking, sent petrol prices soaring,” said MEE.

He switched to propane until its price tripled. He gave up his generator and bought a Chinese-made solar panel.

It’s “not the best but it works for me,” he said. “I can charge my computer and the cell phones of my neighbors.”

“If it’s a bright day, I can power the television for an hour and find out about how much of my country has been destroyed.”

Nasri Abobaker uses a 1.5 volt battery to charge his phone. It cost $1. He built an adapter, he said. “Now I can power one lamp from it and it’s free.”

Ayman al-Dhobhani earns $9 a day transporting people around Sanaa. He can’t afford fuel. He uses paint thinner instead.

In the last week, the price of 1.5 liters of paint thinner quadrupled – from $2 to $8.

Cooking gas is unavailable. Um Naif, a mother of three, uses cardboard and firewood – “foraged from trees and garbage around her house.”

“Time has toughened us,” she said. Life is hard for all Yemenis. Hani Bakhtan can’t afford propane.

She uses an improvised stove metal bucket “crammed with sawdust and overlaid with clay.” One bottle of sawdust cost $5 and lasts a week, she said.

Aid organizations use donkeys to distribute supplies. National center for freedoms and development manager Salah al-Homaidi said “(w)e’re going back a century” – maybe two before Obama’s aggression ends.

US Saudi Attempt to Block Humanitarian Aid to Yemen

By Stephen Lendman
May 15, 2015
Global Research

 

Obama-YemenThe Blockade continues preventing enough vital humanitarian aid from reaching millions of needy Yemenis. Amounts permitted in are woefully inadequate.

Iran’s cargo ship “Rescue” is en route with food, water, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid. Washington wants it blocked.

US-Saudia Arabia wants it diverted to Djibouti where they control UN aid for Yemen. An Iranian Defense Ministry statement warned of dire consequences if attempts are made to block its efforts, saying:

“The US and Saudi Arabia will be responsible for the consequences of any provocative moves.”

“The US is an accomplice to the war criminals by supporting genocide in Yemen. and the Iranian people’s food and drug aid is a humanitarian move to soothe the oppressed Yemeni people’s pains.”

Aid diverted to Djibouti may prevent its “deliver(y) to the oppressed Yemeni people, and if the international organizations, especially the UN, really want to help the oppressed Yemeni people, they should adopt the necessary measures to prevent the (US-orchestrated) Saudi regime’s savage attacks and fully stop them.”

On Tuesday, Deputy Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Brig. General Massoud Jazzayeri warned: “Attacking the Iranian Red Crescent aid ship will spark war in the region.”

“And this fire may not be put out or brought under control. The US and Saudi Arabia should know that Iran’s self-restraint is limited.”

In April, the Iranian Red Crescent Aid Society blasted Saudi Arabia for blocking Tehran’s humanitarian aid efforts.

Its deputy managing director for international and humanitarian affairs, Shahabeddin Mohammadi Araqi, said “(t)he IRCS humanitarian aid consignments are ready to be dispatched to Yemen, but unfortunately Saudi Arabia prevents their delivery to Yemen.”

On Thursday, Fars News reported the Iranian destroyer Alborz accompanying Iran’s humanitarian cargo ship to Yemen “locked its missile systems on an invading vessel in the Gulf of Aden after a high-speed boat left Yemen’s coasts and rushed to attack it.”

“(T)he vessel changed course and returned to the coast after the Iranian destroyer warned it would target the vessel in seconds.”

According to Iranian destroyer captain Commodore Hassan Maqsoudlou: “If the terrorists ignored our warning, they would be killed with the first bullets of Alborz.”

He stressed Iranian naval forces are prepared to defend the Islamic Republic’s interests – including preventing anyone from provocatively inspecting its ships.

What follows remains to be seen. Iran intends supplying Yemenis with desperately needed humanitarian aid. US/Saudi attempts to block it could lead to regional war.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Washington and Saudis Plan Escalated Aggression on Yemen

By Stephen Lendman
May 10, 2015
Global Research

 

YémenOn May 7,  John Kerry met with Saudi officials in Riyadh. 

A so-called proposed 5-day humanitarian ceasefire is phony. Terror-bombing continues. US/Saudi enforced blockade prevents enough essentials to life from entering Yemen.

Suggesting a limited pause in fighting is willful deception. Washington wants all-out terror war against 25 million Yemenis.

Is large-scale invasion planned? Yemeni UN envoy Khaled Alyemany representing the illegitimate (US-installed) ousted government has called for intervention by foreign ground forces.

Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin called invading Yemen “reckless – an escalation of the situation.”

“What we need is a speedy resumption of negotiations under the mediation of the United Nations,” he stressed.

On May 7, UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen Johannes van der Klaauw called for an immediate halt to fighting, saying:

“Civilians were reportedly targeted while they were trying to flee to safer areas, having been trapped in Aden with limited or no access to water, food and health care for weeks.”

“People in Aden have endured extreme hardship as a result of conflict over the last six weeks and must be able to move to safer areas to seek medical and other assistance.”

“Violence towards civilians and aid workers, and attacks on hospitals and other civilian infrastructure, must stop immediately.”

Yemeni doctors and other medical workers demonstrated in front of Sanaa’s UN office. A doctor attending the rally said:

“We have come here…to call for the UN Secretary-General to put an end to this genocide war against the Yemenis. Many patients die at the hospitals because of” no fuel or medical supplies.

Thousands have died, mostly noncombatant civilians either in harm’s way or deliberately targeted.

Thousands more were injured, many maimed for life. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

Riyadh’s military spokesman Brig. General Ahmed al-Assiri responded to Houthi and tribal fighters’ cross-border attacks in retaliation against Saudi terror-bombing, ludicrously saying:

“The Houthi militias have crossed red lines and they will be dealt with differently now. (They’ll) pay a harsh and expensive price.”

“The formula has changed after Saudi towns and civilians” were shelled.

AP said Houthis and allied forces consolidated control over most of Aden while Kerry was in Riyadh. The previous day they “overwhelmed” Tawahi’s downtown district and an area presidential palace.

Reuters reported Riyadh’s vow to hit Houthis hard despite a 5-day ceasefire offer. Asseri declined to say if ground invasion is coming. All options are open, he stressed.

In a letter to UN officials, Houthis called for international action against Saudi-led aggression.

Senior Houthi official Tawfiq al-Himyary denounced Riyadh’s phony ceasefire offer – calling it “cover” for its failures.

“Saudi Arabia feels it is in trouble after more than 40 days of aggression,” Himyary said. “It did not reach its stated goals, but killed and displaced thousands of civilians.”

“Saudi Arabia has no right to attack the Yemenis or even to give them any kind of truce. There is no trust in this regime at all.”

War Crimes and Ethnic Cleansing in Yemen

By Catherine Shakdam
May 9, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

H34242342A month  into its unilateral military aggression on Yemen, Saudi Arabia appears to have lost most of its composure, finding itself in a quagmire it never thought it could fall into – especially not in the most impoverished and instability-racked nation in the Arabian Peninsula.

Strong of its imperial might and its petrodollars, the Kingdom miscalculated its intervention in unruly Yemen, assuming that the country would offer but a meek resistance to its over-powering hegemonic will. And indeed, this war in Yemen hardly appears balanced when one militia finds itself facing a mighty military coalition of both Western and Arab powers, an alliance of some of the richest and most military powerful countries in the world against this one Yemeni tribal faction.

And yet Yemen has held true. As the houthis have often warned, “You might one day break our bones but you’ll never see us fall.” If such tirade was dismissed as misplaced bravado pre-March 25, when King Salman chose to unleash his warplanes onto an unsuspecting Yemen, four weeks of intense and bloody fighting have given this one sentence an entire new meaning.

Just as David faced Goliath over a millenium ago, the Houthis of Yemen are bent on showing Al Saud what metal they are made of. However one might feel about the Houthis’ political inclination or even their religious beliefs, there is a great deal of dignity in the loyalty and dedication they have demonstrated in holding their pledge to their leadership. For some men still — God and nation, are values worth standing up for and fighting for.

But what started as a desire to see restore a Saudi stooge in Sana’a – in this case, once resigned, twice runaway President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has devolved into a sinister campaign against Yemen’ Zaidi community.

Labeled by Riyadh as both a political and religious threat for they dared aspire to remove themselves from any form of feudality, the Houthis have been discriminated against on account of their affiliation to Zaidi Islam, one of the oldest branch of Shia Islam. Zaidism emerged in Yemen in the 8th century, and is rooted on the teachings of Zaid, the grandson of Imam Hussein. Declared a heresy by Wahhabi Saudi Arabia at the turn of the 18th century, Al Saud has long tried to outroot Zaidi Islam from southern Arabia, where it ambitioned to assert its own ascetic, violent and reactionary interpretation of Islam – Wahhabism.

If King Salman sold his war on Yemen to western media by arguing he sought to restore democracy in this corner of the world, his intentions are much sinister it appears as his military has systematically and indiscriminately targeted heavily populated areas in northern Yemen, where Zaidis happen to be in majority.

To believe that the world most fierce theocracy would ever want to promote democratic values, let alone support its inception would be laughable if the world governments had not repeated the mantra, twisting the narrative of war so much on its head that people have been led to believe that Yemen, like a temperamental child should be made to heed the calls of its masters in the running of its affairs.

When all failed the old specter of sectarianism was raised, a proven formula aimed to rationalize what cannot be justified.

By any accounts, and under international law any military aggression against another country can never be sanctioned. And yet the world bowed to Saudi Arabia with so much enthusiasm that even the United Nations had to withdraw in silence.

But Saudi Arabia’s crimes have become too grand and too disturbing for the world to want to brush it under the rug.

Unknown to the public, thousands of Zaidi Muslims have died since March 25, most of them in northern Sa’ada, the Houthis’ main stronghold. Those men, women and children were civilians, not soldiers or militia men. They were mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, Yemenis with aspirations and dreams.

Their life was forfeited in Riyadh for they dared hold on to their forefathers’ tradition of Zaidism.

To ensure maximum efficiency to its campaign, the Kingdom has resorted to using cluster bombs. Interestingly this particularly vicious weapon of war was solely used in Sa’ada and neighboring regions, at the heart of Yemen’s Zaidi community. But of course the world media have kept silent on such tragedies.

According to Cluster Munition Coalition, a rights group campaigning against the use of cluster bombs, such weapons have been proven fatal to civilian populations. Actually 98 percent of all cluster bombs victims are civilians, of which 27 percent are children. Could it be that Saudi Arabia is merely conducting a covert ethnic cleansing south of its borders?

And while “genocide” might not be the right word to define the type of campaign the Kingdom is running, an investigation should be launched to establish whether of not war crimes have been indeed committed. On that, many Yemenis are rather clear on the answer!

Money, powerful friends and oil do not absolve one nation from abiding by the standards and rules of international law.

One rights group has already sounded the alarm this April. Speaking to the press on a report about Yemen, Human Rights Watch arms director, Steve Goose stressed, “These weapons should never be used under any circumstances. Saudi Arabia and other coalition members – and the supplier, the US – are flouting the global standard that rejects cluster munitions because of their long-term threat to civilians,”

To which he added, “Saudi-led cluster munition airstrikes have been hitting areas near villages, putting local people in danger.”

Cluster munitions have been banned by an international treaty signed in 2008 treaty called the Convention on Cluster Munitions, signed in Dublin by over 100 governments. Saudi Arabia, US, and the recently deposed US and Saudi-backed Yemen government were among the small number of ultra-militarist governments that refused to sign a 2008 agreement between 118 countries seeking to ban cluster bombs.

As the Houthis and their supporters have moved forth against the Saudi coalition, advancing further into southern Yemen where Al Qaida militants have disguised themselves as pro-Hadi forces, to covertly cease control over yet more territories, there have been signs the Saudis and the Gulf monarchies are further escalating their savage military actions against Yemen.

Aid convoys have been bombed, food warehouses have been burned to cinders, while food and medicine have been prevented from entering the country. 26 million Yemenis are being held hostage by Saudi Arabia while the international community looks on idly.

There is only one real question people need to ask themselves. How many more Yemenis will need to die for the concept of justice to regain substance.

Yemeni lives matter!

Catherine Shakdam is the Associate Director of the Beirut Center for Middle Eastern Studies and a political analyst specializing in radical movements, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

US-backed Saudi forces dropped cluster bombs on Yemeni villages

By Thomas Gaist
May 5, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Image from: BayouBuzz

War planes with the US-backed, Saudi-led Arab war coalition dropped illegal cluster munitions amongst several groups of villages in northern Yemen, a report released this week by Human Rights Watch found.

Human Rights Watch found remnants of BLU 108 canisters, fired from a CBU 105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon, in the al-Safraa area of Yemen’s Sadaa province. Evidence of extensive cluster bomb use was found on a plateau less than 1 kilometer away from “four to six village clusters,” inhabited by thousands of people each, HRW found. The alleged use of illegal weapons was corroborated by video footage, photographs, and analysis of satellite imagery.

“These weapons should never be used under any circumstances. Saudi Arabia and other coalition members – and the supplier, the US – are flouting the global standard that rejects cluster munitions because of their long-term threat to civilians,” according to Human Rights Watch arms director Steve Goose.

“Saudi-led cluster munition airstrikes have been hitting areas near villages, putting local people in danger.”

The Sensor Fuzed cluster weapon systems works by spreading four submunitions across a target area, each of which then automatically identifies and locks onto a potential target such as a vehicle or structure. The bomblets themselves are geared to explode above ground for maximum effect, and are tailored to generate a downward explosive force that cover the target and surrounding area in hot shrapnel and flames. The US government has transferred the CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons to Saudi Arabia and UAE in recent years, and the weapons were manufactured by an American firm, Textron Systems Corporation.

https://i0.wp.com/www.muslimnews.co.uk/assets/Yemen-cluster-bombs-used-by-Saudis-480x239.jpg

Generic photo of air force dropping illegal cluster bombs

 

Cluster munitions have been banned by an international treaty signed in 2008 treaty called the Convention on Cluster Munitions, signed in Dublin by over 100 governments. Saudi Arabia, US, and the recently deposed US and Saudi-backed Yemen government were among the small number of ultra-militarist governments that refused to sign a 2008 agreement between 118 countries seeking to ban cluster bombs.

In comments to AFP Sunday, Pentagon official defended sale of cluster bombs on grounds that all states purchasing cluster weapons are required to sign agreements not to use the weapons in areas “where civilians are known to be present.”

Sensor Fuzed model used against villagers in northern Yemen was first deployed by the US military during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Incendiary and chemical weapons such as white phosophorous, which was dropped on civilians areas indiscriminately during the 2004 US punitive assault against the population of the Baghdad suburb of Falljuah, and napalm, widely used in US imperialism’s war against Vietnam, are typically deployed using cluster systems.

Thousands of tons worth of cluster munitions were dropped on Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos by the US Air Force and Navy during the 1960s and 1970s. The US dropped some 260 million bomblets on Laos between 1964 and 1973, some 80 million are estimated to have not exploded, remaining dispersed across the land. Civilians and especially children are regularly killed by explosives leftover from the US war, including cluster bombs and mines, themselves frequently deployed via cluster systems.

US forces also dropped thousands of cluster bombs, including a total of more than 200,000 submunitions, during 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. During an after the 2003 “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” the US led assault deployed more than 2 million submunitions against targets inside Iraq. The NATO powers also used the illegal weapons during the bombing of Yugoslavia by the Clinton administration at the end of the 1990s.

Many cluster munitions carry a cache of hundreds and even thousands of smaller submunitions, which in many cases do not explode immediately and become effective land minds.

Cluster weapons often combine both “anti-personnel” bomblets (designed to kill and maim individual human targets) with “anti-armor” ones (designed to destroy tanks and armored vehicles). The widespread pattern of small explosions that the submunitions produce has earned the weapons the military nickname of “popcorn” and “fire crackers.” Chemical and incendiary weapons including white phosphorus and napalm are often deployed via cluster systems.

Cluster munitions were first deployed on a large scale during the Second World War, by both the Nazi regime and the “democratic” imperialist powers. Nazi forces used the so-called “butterfly bomb,” named for the shape of the container after it had released its submunitions, against both civilian and military targets. Cluster-type systems were used by the US and allied imperialist governments to blanket urban areas in Germany and Japan with flammable explosions, a tactic geared to produce massive firestorms.

Israel and US are top producers of cluster bombs worldwide. As many as 30 countries may have received cluster munitions from the US totaling hundreds of thousands. According to some estimates, Israel used as many as 4 million submunitions against Lebanon during the 1978 invasion and the protracted occupation that followed.

There are signs that the Saudis and the Gulf monarchies are further escalating their savage military actions against Yemen.

Saudi had vowed a ceasefire and political deal to end the war on April 21, but strikes by the coalition began again the very next day, and has since greatly intensified its bombing runs against cities and towns across the country. New contingents of ground troops trained by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are reported to be in Yemen, where they are engaging in combat with the Houthis. The deployments may be the opening phase of a Saudi ground invasion.

Large areas of the country have already been laid waste by the fighting on the ground between militant groups and weeks of heavy bombing by the Saudi-led alliance. At least 1,200 killed and 5,000 wounded by bombing campaign, according to World Health Organization statistics. Aid groups state that the real death toll may be much higher, but conditions on the ground make it impossible to get an accurate count at present.

Saudi planes have carried out 70 percent of strikes against Yemen, according to a spokesman for the Saudi coalition. In this, the Saudis have received extensive and growing support from the US military, which has surveilled targets and providing logistical support in coordination with the Saudi-led coalition, in addition to providing billions of dollars worth of up to date US made military hardware.

The Obama administration is working closely with sections of the Saudi, Gulf and Iranian elites in an effort to forge a comprehensive political settlement that will re-stabilize US imperialism’s hegemonic position in the Middle East. Yemen’s population is being treated as a bargaining chip in the process, with all parties seeking to utilize the growing bloodbath to strengthen their positions against rivals in the regional and global arenas.

Yemen is Obama’s War: US/Saudi Blockade Prevents Vital Humanitarian Aid from Reaching Yemen

By Stephen Lendman
April 29, 2015
Global Research

 

yemen_children_unicefUS/Saudi imposed air and sea blockade prevents vital humanitarian aid in amounts needed from reaching desperate Yemenis – including food, clean water, medical supplies and other essentials to life.

Reuters reported desperately needed vital aid is being blocked. Saudis continue “holding up food deliveries by sea” and air.

ICRC spokeswoman Marie Claire Feghali said things “were difficult enough before, but now there are just no words for how bad (they’ve) gotten.”

“It’s a catastrophe, a humanitarian catastrophe” – worsening daily.

Yemeni Human Rights Minister Izzedine al-Asbahi explained:

“The war and its results have turned Yemen back 100 years, due to the destruction of infrastructure…especially in the provinces of Aden, Dhalea and Taiz.”

Power shortages threaten to cut off telecommunications in days. The World Food Program said lack of fuel prevents delivering food and other vital supplies – what little is available.

Hospitals can’t operate properly to treat patients and save lives. Since April 21, Saudi warships blocked a commercial oil tanker from reaching Yemen. Other vessels carrying humanitarian aid are prevented from reaching Yemeni ports.

A Sanaa resident said “(t)he place is devastated. There are no roads, water (or) electricity. Nobody’s left but thieves.”

Everything is in short supply or unavailable. The UN said Saudis are blocking ships carrying food, fuel and other vital supplies.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Genera Mohammad Ali Jafari compared Saudi aggression to Israeli ruthlessness.

On Monday, 47 humanitarian aid agencies called on all parties to end conflict and violence.

War imposed conditions “prevent humanitarian organizations from delivering life-saving assistance,” they said.

“(I)nternational humanitarian and human rights laws must be upheld by all parties at all times,” they stressed.

A humanitarian catastrophe is happening in real time – worsening daily, threatening the lives and welfare of millions of Yemenis.

Saudi warplanes and ships block vital humanitarian aid from reaching Yemen. Small amounts only are arriving. Far more is needed. Deliveries authorized by Washington and Riyadh alone are getting in.

Iranian international affairs advisor Ali Akbar Velayati cited international law saying “(n)o other country, under any name, is allowed to interfere in the internal affairs of other independent countries. Therefore, Yemen’s airspace (and coastal waters) belong to itself.”

Iran sent multiple humanitarian aid shipments to Yemen. Some got through. Others were blocked illegally.

Iran Red Crescent Society (IRCS) international and humanitarian affairs deputy director Shahabeddin Mohammadi Araqi called conditions in Yemen “critical.”

Riyadh “prevent(s) the dispatch of aid to Yemen,” he said.

Recently replaced UN special advisor on Yemen Jamal Benomar briefed Security Council members on crisis conditions.

He warned that (US/Saudi imposed) blockade “restrict(s) the flow of much needed commercial goods and humanitarian assistance to Yemen, including food, fuel and medical supplies amongst others.”

He highlighted “the specter of food insecurity… (He said it) widened to threaten more than 12 million Yemenis” – a conservative estimate.

He stressed peace and stability can only be restored through diplomatic negotiations – “free from interference and coercion from outside forces.”

Overnight, Saudi warplanes continued terror-bombing residential areas and civilian infrastructure.

Scores were killed or wounded. Iran’s Fars News estimates over 3,000 civilians killed – “mostly women and children,” it said.

Official estimates are woefully conservative – downplaying the horrific civilian carnage and human suffering.

Yemen’s Freedom House Foundation (FHF) estimates over 3,500 killed through Monday – nearly 6,200 others wounded, many maimed for life.

FHF said 4,900 residential buildings were destroyed or damaged – plus 857 civil service and public utility facilities.

The struggle for Yemen’s soul continues. Obama’s hegemonic lawlessness threatens endless genocidal war.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.